To my Dearest Horse Show Coffee,
Ours is a wild love. In a single day, we traverse the highest of highs and lowest of lows together, each moment our chemistry takes a new turn, and each moment I long, I pine, for more.
Each horse show morning when my alarm goes off at some ungodly hour of evil and darkness, I slither from my covers, a pitiful pile of useless sludge, craving your very existence to get me through my morning, but I know it will be hours yet before we meet.
I pour my raggedy gross self into breeches and muck boots and head to the show grounds to get the horses fed and watered, all the while thinking of your scent, your warmth, your magnificence.
I impatiently fidget and check my messy hair in the reflection of my phone while I wait for the concessions to open, knowing behind that aluminum rolling window, you’re slowly churning away and filling the cheap glass carafes, stained by years of use (and misuse).
In comparison to my occasional splurges at the local handcrafted coffee roaster with $6 avocado toast, you’re a cheap and watery imposter, but even still, I dream of you. Finally the window flies open and I plead with the dreary concessions woman to bring me her tallest Styrofoam cup of ambrosia.
Hours of impatience and excitement and finally you’re here! I bring you to my lips and – you burn me with a radiant splendor with awakens me with a cruel ferocity far beyond what the beans could ever do. I curse myself for my tragic lack of self control, spoiling the moment. I add an unhealthy amount of half & half and go on my way.
Soon you’re forgotten in the hubbub of bathing, grooming, and braiding. You wait patiently for me behind a steel beam outside the stall door, trying to keep your warmth alive in the chilly morning air so as not to disappoint me. I rediscover you at the perfect moment, take 5 giant gulps, and squeeze you tenderly between my elbow and hip as we and a sassy mare make our way to the lunging area.
Once I’m in my white show shirt, I know it’s time for us to part, because I am me, and I know from experience what would happen if I didn’t. I distractedly set aside that which I had craved all morning, knowing likely this is our last meeting of the day. Hours go by and you hear nothing, see nothing from inside the dark and quiet changing room, wondering if I’ll come back for the second half of the cup.
Finally, ruckus erupts around you as curtains are pulled back, stakes are pulled up, horses are loaded and clothes are changed. I see a barnmate pick you up and walk toward a trash can, my show lipstick still smudging your lid as a remembrance of our best times.
I think of how you gave me my superpowers, how my tongue still hurt from your scorches, and most of all, how I still have to drive 3.5 hours home with 6 horses and 5 teenagers in the rig. Just as you’re leaving her hand, dangling dangerously over the trash, I yell, I run, and snatch you from the jaws of death.
Though you’ve gone miserably cold, the lid is dusty, and there seems to be a horse hair in my mouth, I gulp down every last bit of your essence, completely indifferent to the sludgey grounds at the bottom of the cup which now grace my chin and sweatshirt. You have given me everything, and fulfilled your righteous purpose in this world. I part with the cup, finally, knowing you have nothing left to give. To your spirit, your fire, your devotion, I dedicate this horse show and all horse shows.
That Girl with a Horse Show Coffee Problem